2wd to 4wd conversion

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case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Hi all,

First time caller here.

I recently acquired a 1989 pickup, extended cab. It's 2wd, and auto.

It has under 30,000 miles on it and is exceptionally clean (by Northeast Vermont standards), but... the previous owner stuffed a SBC with a race cam & TH400 into it, and got rid of the stock setup.

I'm interested in making this truck practical, and possibly 4wd & standard.

I'm a 4th & 5th gen Toyota pickup & 123 Mercedes Benz geek, I've worked on a few early 90's Isuzu Rodeos, and that's it for my relevant-era Isuzu experience.

Are the 4wd & 2wd frames different? I'm wondering if they're all the same or if frame mods will be needed to make it 4wd.

Thanks in advance for any replies,

Bryan
case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Also, I tried to upload pics and failed.

Is there a file size maximum? My pics are a little over 6mb.

Thanks again,

Bryan
gruff54
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Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:00 am
Location: Central NC

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by gruff54 »

Can't help you with the frame question. I was under the impression they're the same, but have no firsthand experience. If no one chimes in here, give Jerry a shout. Are you planning on going back with a stock Isuzu drivetrain? My son has an '88 std cab 4wd 4 cyl 5 speed pickup.

Mike
'89 Trooper 2.6L-5 spd
'87 Trooper 2.6gas to 4jb1-t swap(in progress)
case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Yeah, I know nothing about these rigs.

I don't know if all of the frames rolled off the assembly line identical or not.

I haven't any time underneath it yet, seeing if there's provisions for mounting up IFS or not.

The truck is originally a 2wd automatic. Not sure which motor originally came in it.

Do the Amigo's have the same frame & powertrain?

Ideally, I'd find a complete, rusted out donor rig. I quickly checked Craigslist, and couldn't find any P'up's in my neck of the woods, so I'm wondering which other models (if any) share the frame & powertrain.

I'm assuming (hopefully incorrectly) that finding an xtra cab rear driveshaft will be difficult, so I'll most likely be going to the machine shop for that one.

Thanks for the reply,

Bryan

Pup.jpg
case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Hi gruff54,

Yes, I would like to go back to a stock powertrain and drivetrain, as long as they aren't too difficult to find. I live in Northeastern Vermont, which is one of those places that cars go to die. I noticed that you don't have a Northeastern get-together, most likely for this reason.

If I can't find what I need to make it stock, I might repower with a 5VZ-FE and a solid front axle. But I'd really like to make this truck out of stock Isuzu parts and see what these rigs are about.

Also, who is Jerry? I'm new here.

Thank you for the reply,

Bryan
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JoeIsuzu
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Posts: 20942
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 9:11 am
Location: Germantown (next to Elvistown), TN
Isuzu vehicle(s): Original owner, '83 LS Diesel, 5-spd, 2wd, Long Bed, restoration in progress!

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by JoeIsuzu »

My 1994 Amigo had the same Factory Shop Manual as the Pickup. That leads me to believe they shared the same front end components. Mine was 2wd, but I'm pretty certain the frame would accommodate 4wd components. It would be a lot to swap, but if you had a donor truck, it seems possible. But I'm not an authority, so don't quote me (yet). Let's see if anybody agrees or corrects me.

Jack
case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Hi Jack,

Yep, it'd definitely be a lot to swap, but this truck is CLEAN, so it's tempting.

However, restoring the powertrain to stock and settling for 2wd has it's own merits, as it'd be a lot less work, plus it'd force me to park the truck for the long winter, which would greatly extend its life. My property is on a snowmobile/4wheeler trail, so 4wd is essential in the winter.

My limited research tells me that this year Pickup was offered with a 2.3 or a 2.6. What are the general opinions of these two motors?

I'm gonna run the VIN soon and figure out which motor came with this rig. I dug around the back of the cab, and found a PCM, so that's at least a start towards getting this thing back to stock.

Thank you,

Bryan
gruff54
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Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:00 am
Location: Central NC

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by gruff54 »

Truck does look very clean. Good score. It's my understanding that the 88 and up pickups (Jack will tell you it isn't a P'up) came with a 2.3 with 2wd and manual trans. I think the 2wd auto's came with the 2.6. All 4wd had the 2.6. Think after '89 you could also get the 3.1 V-6, only seen it in the 4wd trucks. As far as compatible 4wd running gear, I think the trucks would be the same as the Rodeos and Amigos. Jerry is our resident guru here. Great source of info as well as new and used parts. Search for user jlemond here. PM sent.

Mike
'89 Trooper 2.6L-5 spd
'87 Trooper 2.6gas to 4jb1-t swap(in progress)
case1845c
Regular Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: Northeast Vermont
Isuzu vehicle(s): 1989 Pickup (project)

Re: 2wd to 4wd conversion

Post by case1845c »

Yup, Jack already corrected me (thanks again Jack) in my introductory thread.

I thought I had a P'up with xtra cab, in fact, I have a Pickup with a Spacecab.

Again, I'm new to these rigs, so I welcome all corrections and clarifications of anything I type.

Thank you for the information and pointing me in Jerry's direction.

Bryan
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